Victims of the Troubles

Sir, – Fintan O'Toole forecasts that future British legislation will end attempts at prosecutions for Trouble-related crimes committed before 1998 ("Victims of the Troubles deserve the truth: there will be no prosecutions", Opinion & Analysis, May 15th).

All the indications are that this will, in effect, be some kind of general amnesty, for republican and loyalist paramilitaries as well as British soldiers. Rather than express more pointless outrage at this, the Government should investigate other ways in which the victims of those crimes – and their families – can at least get some “truth recovery”: ie find out what happened to their loved ones.

The “conditional amnesty” idea, as proposed by John Green and Padraig Yeates, is one possible avenue. Amnesty would be granted if a perpetrator cooperated “honestly and fully with the process of truth recovery”. This would also do away with the random and selective nature of the very few prosecutions, and even fewer convictions, that have happened to date.

At least the relatives of those who died in Derry and Ballymurphy have a remote chance of getting some recompense from the British government. What about the much larger number of people who were murdered by paramilitaries of all stripes? What chance have their families of getting any recompense? Until now, none.


If even some perpetrators were willing to come forward in return for an amnesty, the Green-Yeates scheme would offer those families some hope of coming to terms with the horrors of the past. – Yours, etc,


Rathmines, Dublin 6.